Limited by Perfection?November 10, 2017
Are you well known for your ability to create perfect crafts for every holiday or are you the person everyone relies on to turn out picture-perfect cakes for every occasion? Or do you channel your energy into keeping your home spotless, your work faultless and your clothes impeccable? While many find themselves to be wired as perfectionists and take great pride in the term, others find themselves struggling to keep up with the pressure and fraying at the edges from keeping up appearances.
Whether you spend your energy making things look perfect to outsiders or find yourself shutting down if things go wrong, you should examine if your need for perfectionism is holding you back. If you find that you do not get enjoyment and satisfaction from your most Type-A traits, it’s time to ask yourself these revealing questions.
Are your standards realistic?
Do you spend your time and mental efforts creating standards and expectations that are nearly impossible to achieve? If you find that you are consistently creating expectations that leave you disappointed and frustrated or anxious by situations, it’s time to examine if your standards are in line with reality.
Are you slow to react?
Are you a chronic procrastinator or find yourself overthinking a situation to the point that you neglect to act? Don’t let this destructive behavior continue! Take the time to examine why you find yourself trapped in a quagmire of inaction. Don’t be surprised if you discover that fear and anxiety fuel your inaction.
Do you agonize over simple tasks?
Another symptom of being a perfectionist is if you routinely agonize over simple interactions with other people. From obsessively editing emails to playing over basic conversations in an unending loop, if you experience paralysis after every communication, it’s time to make a change.
Striving for perfectionism may be a defense mechanism for avoiding painful or difficult stressors is unrealistic and can cause more problems than it solves. Instead of trying, failing, learning a lesson and trying again until you get it right, you may find yourself hiding from challenges instead of rising to the occasion.
Be kind to yourself as you reset your expectations to be in line with reality. Remind yourself that perfection isn’t attainable and that everyone makes mistakes.
Change Your Perspective
Frequently, shifting your perspective can help you reframe the situation. By stepping outside of your standards and expectations, you can gain a better understanding of realistic expectations and healthy behaviors.
Clarify Your Standards
Escaping from the cult of perfectionism doesn’t mean you have to live in squalor or disregard your responsibilities. Take the time to make your expectations clear, write them down if you must. Find a new standard that gives you freedom from perfection, but still allows you to meet your obligations.
While you may cling to perfectionism thinking it helps you get things done in the best way, more often than not the quest for perfectionism limits you. Don’t let unrealistic expectations of perfectionism keep you from achieving your dreams.